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Dog Seizures - MCTs and Idiopathic Epilepsy: The Benefits, Use and Potential Side Effects

Did you know that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can be used to help treat idiopathic epilepsy in dogs? In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of MCTs for dogs with epilepsy, how to use them and potential side effects. Keep reading to learn more!

Medium-chain triglycerides have been linked to cognitive and behavioural enhancing effects as well as decreasing activity. Medium-chain triglycerides are comprised of a glycerol molecule attached to three fatty acids, with a hydrocarbon chain ranging between 6 to 12 atoms.

The medium-chain triglycerides of interest are octanoic (C8) and decanoic (C10) acid. Supplements with other medium-chain triglycerides have shown no benefits for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and are not ideal, as they only add unneeded calories to your dog's diet.

The key MCT is decanoic acid. Ideally, any MCT supplement you give your dog should have > 50% decanoic acid (C10).

The benefits of Decanoic (C10) acid include
  1. May reduce seizure frequency by acting as a non-competitive AMPA receptor inhibitor and increasing GABA production

  2. Combat glucose hypometabolism by increasing mitochondria

  3. Have anti-oxidant effects by increasing catalase and glutathione and

  4. May reduce processes associated with epileptogenesis and hence future seizure production

The benefits of Octanoic (C8) acid include
  1. acting as an alternative fuel source for the brain/increasing ketone production - this is important as the metabolism of ketones does not require the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase which has been found to be reduced in brain tissue of rodents with seizure activity.

  2. Aiding in neuronal synapse repair and maintenance, and

  3. Increasing neuronal synapse protein synthesis and stability

These medium-chain triglycerides are metabolised differently from other fats in that they go straight to the liver where they are used for energy or ketone production rather than being stored as body fat or transported around the body as fatty acids.

MCTs have been shown to be an effective treatment for idiopathic epilepsy in humans and dogs. One study showed that MCTs were able to decrease seizure frequency by 50% in a group of human patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Another study conducted on dogs with idiopathic epilepsy found that medium-chain triglycerides were able to significantly reduce seizure frequency and duration as well as improve quality of life measures.

So how do you use MCTs to help your dog's epilepsy?

MCTs can be given orally. The recommended dose is 10%of daily caloric requirments split into two doses and given every 12 hours. MCTs can be mixed with food or given as a treat. If you are using MCTs to treat your dog's seizures , it is important to start with a low dose and increase gradually as tolerated.

As with any treatment, there are potential side effects of MCTs. The most common side effect is diarrhea. If your dog experiences diarrhea, you should reduce the dose or stop giving MCTs altogether and then start again at a lower dose.

MCTs are a promising additional supportive treatment for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. If you are considering using MCTs for your dog with idiopathic epilepsy, be sure to speak to your veterinarian first. They will be able to help you determine if MCTs are the right treatment for your dog and help you get started on the right dose.

Thanks for reading! We hope this blog post has been helpful in learning more about medium chain triglycerides and their potential benefits for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

Do you have any questions or comments?

We would love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading!

Have you used MCTs to help treat your dog's idiopathic epilepsy? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

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